Still on the Sexual Abuse of Children

“Being a Christian is not cutting yourself off from real life; it is entering into it more fully. It is not failing to go deeper; it is going deeper than ever. It is a journey into the heart of how things really are.”

Rob Bell
Author – Velvet Elvis

There is something truly disturbing this Lent, not because it should not have happened, but for the mere fact that it grinds with the liturgical rhythm of Lent. It is un-veiling of what Lent is supposed to be – a time of repentance, honest inward-looking, bleeding with our very wounds, both personal and institutional.

The Vatican is bleeding this Lent, almost in self-imposed suffering, for secretly allowing pedophiles to roam around like lions looking for someone to devour. From the American stories of abuse to the Irish cover-up and now to the German connection of the Pope to pedophilia, the world is left to stare with anger and suspicion over what’s going on indeed in most confessional cubicles, and for some fundamentalists, is turning this into an opportunity to viciously attack and tear down the whole Church as if pedophilia is as epidemic as malaria. And how the Vatican is handling this insanity and very un-Godly mess! Bring it on the mess this Lent. There’s no other road to healing but to tell the stories of the wounded and wounding pedophiles and whatever clandestine structures are feeding them. There’s no other road to healing than remembering in repentance and compassion the secret stories of the innocent abused.

A lot needs honest admission in this Church.

Infantilism (or baby-ing instead of showing the way of honest silence for example) of the weak leaders through rigid and even surreptitious structures is one.

Overreaction, or even groping in the dark over postmodernism (gender issues; growth of personal authority) is another.

Clerical status and the confusion over the extent of political involvement in the State led into more confusion for the people.

Privileged hierarchy over the laity continues to be wounding.

But the most appalling, to echo blogger Maggie Ross, is the dwindling lived vision of the Church as a sacrament, a mere pointer to the Sacred because most leaders are so drunk in its worldly and noisy power, no longer setting an example that “union with the self-emptying God” is the ultimate humbling power and source of self-forgetful service for humanity. It’s not essentially about being ordained or being in religious life. It’s about our life in God through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

If the Church as an institution continues in its project of self-conversion before our humble, crucified God, you and I also partake in this grace of conversion. I eat the same bread of the children, shared the same baptism. I must change endlessly until death before him who is always thousands of steps ahead of me. And so my Church leaders. And the way to partake with this goal of conversion is from within the Church herself, in being honest to the rhythms of her liturgical seasons – hot or cold.

Should we say Lent is a comfy time of mere entertainment from Passion plays? Ah-ah.


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